News Air conditioning blamed for 20 percent of illnesses in summer

26-07-2014 13:09 | Jan Richter

Too cold air conditioning is responsible for 20 percent of all illnesses registered in the Czech Republic during the summer months, Jakub Nožička of the Česká pojišťovna insurance firm told the news website novinky.cz on Saturday. Block vertebrae, headaches and joint pain are among the most common problems caused by big differences in temperatures between in- and outdoors, doctors say; they warn that the difference between temperatures in air-conditioned spaces and outside should not be higher than five degrees Celsius.

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Ostrava's ArcelorMittal bans smoking on premises

05-08-2015 08:38 | Ian Willoughby

Smoking is to be banned on the premises of the ArcelorMittal metallurgical plant in Ostrava from September 1, the firm has announced. ArcelorMittal, which employs around 7,500 people, is the first major company in the Czech Republic to make such a move. The smoking ban has been prepared for some time and workers have been offered treatment to help them kick the habit. Company officials say repeated breach of the prohibition could result in dismissal. 

Open-air film series launched at National Gallery’s Veletržní Palace

05-08-2015 08:29 | Ian Willoughby

An open-air cinema has been launched on the terrace of Prague’s Veletržní Palace, the home of the Czech National Gallery’s modern art collection. The first film, The Last Adventure by Robert Enrico, was screened there on Tuesday night and more archive movies on the theme of art, heights and aviation are planned for the remaining Tuesdays in August. The terrace of the Functionalist building housed a café in the past but since a fire it has rarely been used. 

Czech team for athletics worlds includes two defending champions

04-08-2015 17:49 | Ian Willoughby

A 24-member Czech team for the forthcoming World Athletics Championships in Beijing has been announced. Among the 15 men and nine women selected are two defending world champions, hurdler Zuzana Hejnová and javelin thrower Vítězslav Veselý. Barbora Špotáková, who also competes in the javelin, returns to the World Championships team after missing the last event in Moscow due to maternity leave. The Czech team’s coach, Tomáš Dvořák,said eight members were in their discipline’s top eight competitors this year, which was good news. The World Athletics Championships run from August 22 to 30. 

Around 50 injured after wagons derail and hit stationary train

04-08-2015 14:24 | Ian Willoughby

Around 50 people were injured, seven of them seriously, when two express trains collided in a station at Horažďovice in south-western Bohemia on Tuesday. A spokesperson for Czech Railways said the last two wagons on a train travelling from Plzeň to Ceske Budějovice were derailed, slamming into a stopped train going from Plzeň to Brno. The second train was also derailed in the incident, which may have been caused by a mistake in switching. Three of the most seriously injured were taken to hospital by helicopter. 

Second investigation into jailed ex-politician Rath ends

04-08-2015 14:13 | Ian Willoughby

A second investigation in the case of jailed ex-politician David Rath has come to an end, state attorney Jiří Pražák said on Tuesday. The police should hand the case file to the state attorney’s office in the coming days. The investigation concerns companies suspected of involvement in the manipulation of public tenders in the Central Bohemian Region, of which Mr. Rath was governor. The police have already charged 10 people, including Mr. Rath, in connection with the allegations, which relate to eight firms. The former Social Democrat minister of health recently received an eight and a half year jail term and was stripped of CZK 20 million after being found guilty in a linked case. 

NGOs working with migrants call for easing of asylum rules

04-08-2015 14:00 | Ian Willoughby

A group of Czech non-governmental organisations working with migrants say that rules governing asylum seekers should be changed to allow them to reach Europe safely and ask for protection, iDnes.cz reported. This would thwart human traffickers and help save lives, they say. In a statement, the consortium of 18 NGOs said that those whose lives were in danger should have easier access to humanitarian visas and an increased chance of reuniting with family members. Around 1,000 illegal migrants have been detained in the Czech Republic since checks were stepped up in mid-June and the issue of asylum has been attracting increased attention. 

Prague Pride promises 120 events culminating in city-centre parade

04-08-2015 13:45 | Ian Willoughby

This year’s Prague Pride LGBT festival is set to offer around 120 events, including concerts, discussions, film screenings and theatre performances, organisers said on Tuesday. The week-long event, now in its fourth year, will culminate in a traditional parade through the centre of the city on Saturday August 15. Festival director Kateřina Saparová told journalists that Prague Pride would make a bigger effort to also attract heterosexuals this year than in the past. 

Leaked IAAF data suggests 7 percent of Czech athletes had abnormal blood tests

04-08-2015 10:51 | Ian Willoughby

Leaked data from the International Association of Athletics Federations revealed at the weekend suggesting a high level of drug-taking in the sport also concerns Czech athletes, the website of the UK’s Daily Mail reported. Seven percent of Czechs tested between 2001 and 2012 had suspicious blood samples, it said. Responding to the claim, the head of the Czech Olympic Committee’s anti-doping section, Jan Chlumský, said it was not possible to say at the present time in what way the results had been abnormal. The chairman of the Czech Olympic Committee, Jiří Kejval, criticised the publication of the records; he said media reports on the subject had been sensationalist and that drawing conclusions on the basis of partial results was highly unsound. 

HN: Zeman making Czech Republic only EU state to ignore boycott of Chinese WWII celebrations

04-08-2015 10:35 | Ian Willoughby

The decision of the Czech president, Miloš Zeman, to attend events in China in September marking the end of World War II in the Pacific means the Czech Republic will be the only European Union state to ignore a proposal from Brussels for an EU-wide boycott of the celebrations, Hospodářské noviny reported on Tuesday. A Czech foreign ministry spokesperson told the newspaper that its officials had had to reject a coordinated EU position due to Mr. Zeman’s plan. It is not clear whether the Czech head of state will attend a military parade in Beijing. EU representatives are reportedly staying away from the anniversary events due to tensions between China and Japan and because Russia’s President Putin will be in attendance. 

State prepares list of excess properties for potential sale

04-08-2015 08:54 | Chris Johnstone

The Czech government is preparing the sell off of dozens of excess buildings held by various institutions and authorities. Around 20 state institutions have been told to submit their lists of non-required property by September. Around 600 properties are believed to fall into the category with earnings from their sale estimated at around 2 billion crowns. One of the first properties likely to be sold is a former seminary at Vidnava near the Polish border. It was initially earmarked for use by the prisons service but development plans were eventually shelved. 

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